Since they're usually rich and upper class, my characters tend to live in large houses. I plant my dukes in a fictional version of Norfolk House or Northumberland House—buildings that occupied large chunks of London real estate. In the country, their domiciles are the fictional counterparts of Derbyshire’s Chatsworth or Hardwick Hall. If your library measures, say, 30 X 50 feet, with built-in shelves, you don’t have to worry all that much about where to put the books. Nor do you fret about fitting in a set of the latest mode in furniture for reading or writing or staring into the fire thinking shallow or deep thoughts, according to your inclinations.
But a great many people, including celebrities like Beau Brummell and Lord Byron, lived in lodgings. For them and others living in smaller quarters, furniture designers exercised their ingenuity.
Above is s a piece of fashionable furniture from January 1814.
The chaste and elegant library table represented in the annexed engraving, is of a convenient form and moderate size, and is suited to an apartment of small dimensions: at the same time it exhibits that breadth of parts and greatness of design, which characterize most articles of modern furniture, and give a dignity heretofore unknown. The recess beneath renders it also extremely commodious for a writing table, which was not the case with the library tables formerly constructed. The chair is designed with equal attention to elegance and convenience, and made to correspond. They may both be formed of mahogany, with rings and ornaments of bronze; the shelves of the table will divide, so as to admit either a row of folios and octavos, or two rows of quartos.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.